Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Wiesenthal Center urges Norwegian FM to reprimand senior diplomat for antisemitic email

"Here is a press release from the Wiesenthal Center, addressed as a letter to Norway’s Foreign Minister - Jonas Gahr Störe. As readers of this site will be fully aware of, Mr. Störe has previously denied that Trine Lilleng is still in Riyadh. When Haaretz found out that she actually has stayed on in Riyadh, Mr. Störe countered by denying ever having said that she was not. Shame on you, Mr. Störe." (Norway, Israel and the Jews blog)

E-mail sent through Ministry account condemns Israel with "outrageous rhetoric and imagery that clearly demeans and diminishes the victims of the Holocaust, and that helps spawn hatred of Jews and the Jewish state".

Just days after a speech at the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research (ITF) where he called for more robust action against Holocaust denial and relativism, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Störe was urged by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to put his words into action and publicly condemn an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel e-mail sent by a senior Norwegian diplomat. According to the Israeli paper, Ha’aretz, while serving as First Secretary in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Trine Lilleng sent an email through her official government account that juxtaposed "images of slain children said to have been killed in the Israeli attack on Hamas in Gaza, …with photos of Jewish Holocaust victims" with a text that said "I always wondered why they didn't learn anything from the horror during WWII. Now I see what they learnt."

The Center expressed concern that Ms. Lilleng has yet to be reprimanded and has reportedly been promoted.

In a letter to Minister Störe, who is also the current ITF Chair, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center’s Israeli Director and Mark Weitzman, Director of the Center’s Task Force Against Hate and Terrorism, said, "It is just such outrageous rhetoric and imagery that clearly demeans and diminishes the victims of the Holocaust, and that helps spawn hatred of Jews and the Jewish state. It is a prime example of the kind of Holocaust relativization that you spoke out so strongly against at the ITF Plenary."

Center officials told Störe that, "it certainly behooves the head of the Ministry that she serves to publicly denounce her hate-spam and to take direct action to ensure that such behavior is not seen to be rewarded or to reflect Norway's official position on these issues."

This controversy comes on the heels of the controversial decision by Norway to celebrate the 150th birthday of Knut Hamsun, who in 1943, during the height of WWII and the Nazi Holocaust, met with Hitler and gave his Nobel Prize in Literature to Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels. Many considered this pro-Nazi collaborator as a traitor to his people and the Wiesenthal Center has protested what appears to be a whitewash of history.

Source: Simon Wiesenthal Center press release

Norway, Israel and the Jews blog has been following this affair:
- Støre’s Faustian pact: Trine Lilleng and the Saudi Prince
- Trine Lilleng still in Riyadh - possibly promoted
- Trine Lilleng - asset or liability for Jonas Gahr Støre?
- Five months since AJC Called on Norway to Repudiate Trine Lilleng for Nazi Analogy
- California professor uses Trine Lilleng’s photographs
- Diplomatic envoy Trine Lilleng

No comments: